How to File a Life Insurance Claim

Life insurance is a financial tool that provides a safety net for loved ones after the policyholder’s death. If you’re the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, it’s important to know how to file a claim to receive the death benefit. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to file a life insurance claim.

Step 1: Get the policy and other important documents

Before filing a life insurance claim, you’ll need to gather the policy document, death certificate, and other important paperwork. If you’re not sure where the policy is, start by checking the deceased’s personal papers or contacting the insurance company directly.

Make sure to get a certified copy of the death certificate from the funeral director or the county or state office where the death occurred. The death certificate is a legal document that proves the policyholder has died, and it’s required by the insurance company as part of the claims process.

Step 2: Contact the insurance company

Once you have the policy and death certificate in hand, contact the insurance company to start the claims process. The company will provide you with instructions on how to file a claim and what documents are needed.

Many insurance companies have dedicated claims departments that handle life insurance claims exclusively. Be prepared to provide the policy number and the deceased’s personal information, such as their name, Social Security number, and date of birth.

Step 3: Complete the claim forms

The insurance company will send you claim forms to complete and return. The forms will ask for basic information about the policyholder, including their name, date of birth, and Social Security number, as well as information about the beneficiary and the death.

Be sure to fill out the forms accurately and completely, and attach any additional documentation required by the insurance company. If you have any questions or need assistance completing the forms, don’t hesitate to contact the claims department.

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Step 4: Wait for the insurance company’s decision

After you’ve submitted the claim forms and all required documentation, the insurance company will review the claim and make a decision on whether to pay the death benefit.

The length of time it takes to process a claim can vary depending on the insurance company and the complexity of the claim. Some companies may require additional information or documentation before making a decision.

Step 5: Receive the death benefit

If the insurance company approves the claim, you’ll receive the death benefit in the form of a lump sum payment or a series of payments, depending on the terms of the policy.

If you’re the beneficiary of the policy, it’s important to understand the tax implications of receiving the death benefit. Generally, life insurance death benefits are not subject to income tax. However, if the policyholder had a large estate, the death benefit may be subject to estate taxes.


Filing a life insurance claim can be a complex process, but it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you receive the death benefit that your loved one intended for you to have. 

By gathering the necessary documents, contacting the insurance company, completing the claim forms accurately, and waiting for the company’s decision, you can help ensure a smooth claims process and receive the death benefit in a timely manner